Report | West Brom U23s 2 Swansea City U23s 0
Kenneth Zohore scored twice as a youthful Swansea City Under-23s were beaten 2-0 by an experienced West Bromwich Albion side in Premier League 2 Division 2.
Zohore’s second-half brace settled the contest in favour of the hosts, who fielded a strong side possessing bundles of first-team experience that also included the likes of Chris Brunt and Ahmed Hegazi.
Having had two first-half goals disallowed for offside, the striker headed West Brom in front in the 62nd minute.
He added a second 12 minutes later – drilling home after latching onto a long ball over the top of the Swansea defence.
Despite the result – a second consecutive defeat – it was a night of good progress for the hard-working Swans, whose matchday squad featured 12 teenagers including debutants Ryan Bevan and Scott Butler.
There was also a first under-23s start for Marc Walsh on the wing, while Ali Al-Hamadi came off the bench for his maiden league appearance at this level.
West Brom made a strong start and Zohore had the first chance of the game as he was played through inside the opening two minutes. However, Cameron Evans produced a magnificent last-ditch challenge to deny him a clear shot on goal.
At the other end, Brandon Cooper’s bending 25-yard effort was inches away from nestling in the top corner.
Nevertheless, the hosts established their authority on the contest for the remainder of the half. Chris Willock and Dara O’Shea were both just off target as they turned up the pressure.
The offside flag then came to the Swans’ rescue on two occasions – both of which denied Zohore, who had tucked away following wonderful passages of play.
Meanwhile, Josh Gould produced smart reflexes to keep out Willock, who also saw his free-kick flash just wide of the target soon after.
Zohore went close again just after the restart – volleying narrowly wide after the Swans had failed to deal with a ball into the box.
But there was no denying West Brom’s number nine in the 62nd minute, as he ghosted into the area to head home an inviting cross from Jack Fitzwater.
The hosts went in search of a second goal and Brunt stung the palms of Gould with a vicious effort from distance.
It eventually arrived 16 minutes from time with Zohore latching onto a long ball over the top of the Swansea defence, before drilling a low shot into the far corner to put the game well and truly beyond the visitors.
West Bromwich Albion U23s: Bradley House, Jack Fitzwater, George Harmon, Ahmed Hegazi, Dara O’Shea, Rekeem Harper, Chris Willock (Nick Clayton-Phillips, 75), Chris Brunt, Kenneth Zohore, Rayhaan Tulloch (Jamie Soule, 71), Kyle Edwards.
Subs not used: Ted Cann, Finn Azaz, Dan Meredith.
Swansea City U23s: Josh Gould; Ryan Bevan, Cameron Evans, Jake Thomas (Scott Butler, 53), Brandon Cooper; Jack Evans (capt), Kees de Boer (Simon Paulet, 35); Marc Walsh (Ali Al-Hamadi, 65), Keiran Evans, Josh Thomas; Liam Cullen.
Subs not used: Lewis Webb, Erick Kenko.